Champions League: Karim Benzema double dashes Bayern Munich’s treble dream

Deutsche Welle
23 Min Read

Bayern Munich’s quest for another treble under Jupp Heynckes is over after defeat in the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid. A 2-2 draw in Madrid was not enough for the Bavarians, who bow out 4-3 on aggregate.Real Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
(Benzema 11′, 46′ — Kimmich 3′, Rodriguez 63′)

Karim Benzema scored a goal in each half as Real Madrid sealed their place in a third successive Champions League final, with Bayern now having lost their last four semifinals in the competition.

The Bundesliga champions had left themselves with an uphill task after a 2-1 defeat in Munich last week, but will rue the individual errors that cost them over the two legs. Bayern played well enough to feel like they deserve to go through, but Real Madrid were ruthless in the key moments, while Bayern lacked that killer touch.

Things had started so well for Bayern, who put Real Madrid under pressure from the start. The lively Robert Lewandowski saw his shot saved by Keylor Navas, but the ball looped into the air and Joshua Kimmich pounced from close range after Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos failed to deal with it.

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But Bayern’s lead lasted barely eight minutes. Marcelo whipped in a cross from the left and an unmarked Benzema nodded in at the far post, taking full advantage of slack Bayern defending. Bayern continued to dominate the half though and were the better team for long periods, stretching Real Madrid on both flanks, with Franck Ribery and James Rodriguez influential in the wide areas.

And Bayern’s best chance to re-establish their lead fell to the Colombian. A penetrating run by Mats Hummels from his own half all the way to the edge Real Madrid box created space for Lewandowski, whose shot was saved by Navas but Rodriguez, under pressure from Ramos, put the ball over from close range. It was a difficult chance, but a crucial one in a game of small margins.

Bayern could have been awarded a penalty before the break too, when Kimmich’s cross struck the outstretched arm of Marcelo, but nothing was given despite Bayern’s protests.

Bayern seemed well placed to take the game to the hosts in the second half, but Heynckes’ halftime plans went out of the window 20 seconds after the restart. Corentin Tolisso played a risky backpass to Sven Ulreich, who slipped at the crucial moment, allowing Benzema to nip in and roll the ball into the empty net to make it 2-1. It was a howler from Ulreich, and one from which Bayern would ultimately fail to recover.

Real Madrid toiled to put the game out of Bayern’s reach though, and the Germans were level soon after the hour, and the goal came courtesy of the man deemed surplus to requirements under Zinedine Zidane in Madrid. Rodriguez lashed a low shot under Navas from an angle to level on the night, as he stood with arms aloft refusing to celebrate.

With the clock ticking, Heynckes threw on Sandro Wagner in search of a late winner, but it failed to materialize. Real stood firm and absorbed the late Bayern pressure to eventually see off Heynckes’ side and confirm their place in the final in Kyiv on May 26. Bayern, meanwhile, are left to lick their wounds after coming up short once again.

As it happened:

It’s all over! Bayern Munich’s Champions League quest is over, and Jupp Heynckes’ dreams of a second treble are over. Once again, Bayern have more than held their own against the reigning champions but once again, they haven’t been clinical enough up front. Two goals in the Bernabeu represent a respectable effort but the game will be remembered for a terrible error from goalkeeper Sven Ulreich at the start of the second half.

90+4′ Corner for Real, who will now run the clock down.

90+3′ Martinez finds Hummels in the box but once again, Bayern will have wished it was a striker in the box as Navas saves.

90+2′ Hummels heads wide from Thiago’s corner.


90′ Thiago floats the ball towards the back post and Navas punches clear. Several Real players are down feigning injury, but the referee will add all this time on.

89′ Yellow card for Casemiro for a foul on Müller and Bayern have a free-kick in a dangerous position.

88′ There’s bound to be some substantial added time here, one would suspect.

87′ Substitution for Real Madrid
Marco Asensio is replaced by Nacho.

86′ Ronaldo plays in Bale who is one-on-one and Ulreich gets to the ball first – although the flag was up against the Welshman.

84′ Substitution for Bayernre
James is replaced by Javi Martinez. Respectful applause for the Colombian from the home fans.

83′ Kimmich kicks the ball out of play because Asensio is down, much to the displeasure of the travelling Bayern fans.

81′ Into the final 10 minutes. Bayern have recorded 19 shots on goal compared to Real’s nine. But that will count for nothing if they can’t find a goal.

79′ Müller gets up for a header at the back post and Navas saves. Corner to Bayern is far too deep. Bayern have another chance … cleared again.

78′ After winning the ball back in the center-cricle, Ronaldo feeds Modric and then sprints through the middle to receive the return pass. He looks to shoot but Niklas “The Wall” Süle slides in brilliantly to block. (That was the German commentator’s nickname, not mine.)

75′ Substitution for Bayern
And that was Tolisso’s final involvement, as he is replaced by Sandro Wagner. All out attack for Bayern now.

74′ Navas saves! Real don’t clear Alaba’s cross and it falls to Tolisso who snaps a shot at goal but Navas reacts brilliantly to save.

72′ Double substitution for Real Madrid
Karim Benzema and Mateo Kovacic and are replaced by Gareth Bale and Casemiro

70′ Now Kimmich goes into the book for a tactical foul on Marcello.

69′ Lewandowski plays in Ribery down the left and Müller is screaming for the ball in space in the box, but the Frenchman doesn’t cross, perhaps thinking Müller is offside. That was a good opportunity for Bayern.

63′ GOAL! REAL 2-2 BAYERN (James)
Game on! The Colombian’s initial effort is well saved by Navas but he follows up and sweeps home the rebound – against his parent club. In recognition of that, he celebrates respectfully. Which this writer won’t accept. It’s the Champions League semifinal! One more goal for Bayern would now send them through.

62′ Yellow card for Luka Modric following a foul on Tolisso.

60′ Chances for Bayern! Hummels, still up from the corner, flashes the ball across goal but Müller can’t convert. It falls to Niklas Süle, also still up from the corner, but his shot is weak. If only those balls had fallen to attackers rather than Bayern defenders …

59′ Another corner for Bayern after another run from Ribery. Again, it’s cleared.

58′ Good move from Bayern down the left as Ribery plays in Alaba, and Bayern win a corner … which is flicked on by Müller but then cleared.

55′ The German commentator has a little dig at the Portuguese: “He usually has no problem scoring goals. He’s good at fathering children too. Regularly. He’s not that good at taxes though … ” Ouch.

54′ Double chance for Ronaldo! First, he can’t quite get a touch on Asensio’s cross. Then, seconds later, he volleys over from Marcelo’s cross. What a let-off for Bayern.

53′ Modric sends a dangerous ball across the face of the Bayern goal but neither Benzema nor Ronaldo can get a touch on it, and Bayern survive.

50′ Chance for Bayern! But Navas gets down well to save from Alaba’s low shot.

46′ GOAL! REAL 2-1 BAYERN (Benzema)
What are Bayern doing!? 22 seconds after the restart, Tolisso plays a weak back-pass to Ulreich who inexplicably goes to ground and allows the ball to roll past him and Benzema taps into an empty net. What was he thinking? Replays suggest Ulreich initially went to smother the ball with his arms before realizing he couldn’t and attempting to use his feet, by which point it was too late. Dear, oh dear, oh dear.

+++ KICKOFF in the second half +++
Both teams are unchanged. As it stands, Bayern Munich need a goal to take the tie to extra time.

Should Bayern have had a penalty just before halftime?
Joshua Kimmich thinks so, after Marcelo appeared to block his cross with his elbow – inside the box. Admittedly, the Brazilian had turned his back and wasn’t looking at the ball, but he certainly stopped the cross with his arm.

“It was a clear penalty! He stops the cross. If we had VAR, that would have been a penalty. At the other end, he would have given it. We’re playing in Madrid, after all.” – Lothar Matthäus

+++ HALFTIME: Real Madrid 1-1 Bayern Munich (agg: 3-2) +++
Bayern Munich are well and truly in this game. They took an early lead through Joshua Kimmich but conceded a soft equalizer from Karim Benzema after the Frenchman was left unmarked at the back post. But as in the first leg, Bayern have had chances. In the second half, they need to take them.

45′ Tolisso curls a shot about a meter wide from the edge of the box.

42′ Bayern work it through the middle again but Thiago puts too much on his ball into Müller. Bayern are having a lot of joy in the center of the park where, without the support of Casemiro, Toni Kroos isn’t having the best of games. Elsewhere, Modric is often being called upon to help out Vazquez at right-back.

40′ Müller & Lewandowski combine again with a couple of neat flicks on the edge of the Real box but it doesn’t quite come off and Real clear.

39′ Ulreich saves from Ronaldo! The first real moment of danger from the Portuguese as he cuts inside past Alaba and shoots low with his left, but Ulreich saves well. From the resulting corner, Romas heads into the side netting at the back post.

38′ Lewandowski fires a pass at Müller on the left wing which the German has no chance of controlling. Instead, he remonstrates with the Pole, motioning that the ball should have been out to Ribery on the other wing.

33′ Close for Bayern! The move starts with a penetrating run from Mats Hummels out of defense. He reaches the edge of the Real box and plays in Lewandowski whose shot is saved by Navas. On the rebound, James fires over. Great move.

32′ Thomas Müller stabs a weak shot at goal which is easily saved, after Ribery had burst through. The Frenchman could have shot himself, but maybe Bayern over-worked that.

31′ Modric and Benzema combine and the little Croatian is sent through on goal but Hummels gets across. That was a neat move. In fact, everything Modric has done so far has been a joy to watch.

30′ Tolisso with a ball into Lewandowki but the Pole, with his back to goal, loses possession. Real break with Asensio but Thiago tracks back well.

28′ Marcelo gets in behind Kimmich once again on the left but Bayern somehow manage to clear his cross, with Ronaldo lurking in space. Again, that was too easy. Kimmich was left to deal with both Ronaldo and Marcelo.

26′ Franck Ribery switches play with a brilliant cross-field ball which Kimmich controls on the right. Müller takes over but his cross is poor and Real go back on the attack.

24′ Real are awarded a free-kick in midfield after wThomas Müller clatters into his compatriot Toni Kroos. Friendship put on hold, here, it seems.

22′ Corner for Bayern on the far right hand side. “Auf geht’s Bayern, schieß ein Tor!” is the chant from up in the away end – “Come on Bayern, score a goal.” But the corner comes to nothing.

20′ Chance for Bayern. Ribery finds Müller in yards of space in the box with a clever throughball, but the German can’t pick out a teammate. He may even have been able to get a shot away there, too.

17′ Lewandowski falls theatrically to the ground in the box under challenge from Sergio Ramos but his control had already let him down. No foul.

16′ Benzema attempts a one-two with Asensio but Ulreich beats the Frenchman to the return pass. The flag was up for offside anyway but, even though Real aren’t moving the ball that quickly, they’re finding it relatively easy to cut through Bayern, who aren’t closing down the spaces well enough.

13′ In the great scheme of things of course, the equalizer doesn’t actually change much; Bayern still need a second goal to take the tie to extra-time. But that’s a long way off yet.

11′ GOAL! REAL 1-1 BAYERN (Benzema)
That was far too easy. Marcelo finds a yard of space to cross pass Kimmich and Benzema ghosts in behind Alaba to head home at the back post. That was soft from a Bayern point of view.

6′ The first good chance for Real Madrid. Toni Kroos takes his free-kick short into Benzema who crosses to the near post but Ronaldo can’t reach it.

3′ GOAL! REAL 0-1 BAYERN (Kimmich)
Sergio Ramos doesn’t clear Müller’s cross and Kimmich stabs home from close range! The perfect start for Bayern in the Bernabeu!

2′ Alaba gets in behind the defense down the left and crosses low towards the near post but Thomas Müller can’t get there ahead of Navas.

1′ An early foul on Alaba from Modric as Bayern try to work the ball down the left.

+++ KICKOFF +++
We’re underway in the Bernabeu. Bayern Munich kicking from right to left all in red. Real Madrid, of course, all in white. “Bayern München, olé!” rings out loud and clear from the away end.

– Arjen Robben is out injured this evening but he says his teammates have nothing to lose: “We all know that we’re behind but we need to have confidence in ourselves. Real are the favorites so we have nothing to lose. When we get our chances tonight, we have to take them.

“Last year, if we’d had had normal referee, we’d have gone through. And we should have won the first leg. So that gives us hope.”

– Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has suggested in an interview with broadcaster SKY that the decision to start Tolisso over Martinez is tactical, rather than simply an injury precaution.

“The coach made the decision because he wants to go for a different option,” he said. “We want to attack, we want to go forward with pace. We want to take risks because we want to win the game and progress. We’re going to attack.”

– It’s a huge night for two youngsters on the Bayern Munich bench. Lars Lukas Mai made his first debut for Bayern away at Hannover two weeks ago, while Niklas Dorsch scored against Frankfurt on Saturday. On Sunday, he came on as a substitute for Bayern’s reserves in their 3-1 win over local rivals 1860 Munich in the fourth division. Now he’s on the bench in the Bernabeu. Not a bad week, really.

+++ TEAM NEWS +++
As suggested, Javi Martinez is indeed injured and starts on the bench for Bayern.

Only one big change in the Real Madrid XI as Mateo Kovacic starts ahead of Casemiro.

– Approximately 4,000 Bayern Munich supporters are expected inside the Santiago Bernabeu this evening, and they’ve already been making their presence felt in Madrid!

– So all eyes will turn to striker Robert Lewandowski. The Pole has faced criticism for his performances in big games and was quiet last week in Munich. For the first time in his career, he has now gone four consecutive games without a goal – a mini-crisis for a striker of his caliber.

If Bayern are to score two goals tonight (the absolute minimum) and progress to the final in Kyiv, they will need the Pole to be on form. And he can do it. Back in 2013, he scored four goals in a Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid – for Borussia Dortmund.

– In fairness, Bayern were forced into several early substitutions in the first leg following injuries to Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng – who both miss out tonight. Reports in Germany suggest that midfielder Javi Martinez could also be a doubt.

– Generally speaking, Bayern were the better team in the first leg and even took the lead through Joshua Kimmich, who said the score could have been as high as 7-2 to Bayern. But it wasn’t. The Germans wasted good chances and were punished by goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio.

Read more: How good are Bayern Munich? Real Madrid loss poses more questions than it answers

– “Steh auf, Männer!” (stand up, men!) was the headline in Germany’s kicker magazine this week, demanding that Bayern Munich stand up and be counted after their 2-1 first-leg defeat last week.

And the Bavarians are certainly in a boisterous mood, with Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge demanding “courage, passion and fight” from the players, who should be prepared to “die a hero’s death” if they must.

+++ Buenas tardes! Guten Abend! Good evening! And welcome to DW’s live coverage of tonight’s Champions League semifinal second leg between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. +++

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